Being Beautiful Can Actually Hurt Your Chances at Landing Some Jobs

A woman applies make-up while waiting during the job fair. A new study finds attractive people are less likely to land low-paying jobs with uninteresting work. Aly Song/REUTERS

Most of us tend to think that attractive people are always are at an advantage in life and enjoy far more opportunities than average-looking or unattractive people, especially when it comes to employment. But a new study suggests this perception is actually not the case for all jobs. Beautiful people are less likely to land menial jobs or positions that involve uninteresting work.

The study published Tuesday in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds being beautiful is a liability when it comes to seeking out less desirable positions, which is proof that attractive people don't get everything they want. The researchers found people interviewing and hiring for these jobs favor unattractive candidates because they perceived attractive candidates would be less satisfied with the pay and the work.

The findings are based on a series of four experiments that involved more than 750 people. They included university students and hiring managers. The researchers showed the hiring managers profiles that included photos of potential candidates (one attractive and one not so much). The researchers asked the hiring managers a series of questions that were meant to assess their perceived attractiveness. They also asked the participants which candidate they were more likely to hire for the low-paying positions that included warehouse worker, customers service representative and housekeeper versus more appealing jobs such as manager, project director and an IT internship.

The researchers found that the hiring managers' decisions were driven by their belief that the nice-looking candidates would be unhappy and unsatisfied with the menial jobs and maybe even less likely to do the work.

The researchers were surprised by this, since previous research has shown that attractive people always have an edge with employment, such as a study in which researchers sent 1,100 fake résumés to employers looking to fill advertised vacancies. They found 54 percent of attractive women were contacted while 47 percent of attractive men received calls, according to the Independent. On the other hand, only 7 percent of unattractive women and 26 percent of unattractive men were contacted by potential employers.

The authors of the new study suggest their findings should be considered when it comes to creating policies about job discrimination. This conclusion is likely to be laughable to unattractive people who have landed jobs but didn't win the genetic lottery.